Operations – Growing Business Through Charity

by Daniel Thor, Bellissimo Foods

There are many ways to market your business, but charitable giving is a way to distinguish yourself among your peers while also helping a worthy cause. It might seem daunting to start a program such as this, but charities, like business are interested in building their membership base and will surprise you at how willing they are to pitch in some help. Most charities today understand your secondary purpose for participating in charitable giving and are experienced at helping you receive a return on your charitable investment.

People all over the country are partial to different causes and are willing to enthusiastically support you knowing some of their hard-earned cash will be going to a worthy cause. Choosing a charity that fits your business and your motivations will greatly increase the likelihood that your promotion will succeed. From a business standpoint, look for charities that will give you meaningful exposure to local influential people. In general, the board members of one charity will most likely sit on the boards of multiple organizations with other business executives allowing for unique networking opportunities. Make sure to spend some quality time with the charity that will show your skills. Donating free dinners to the charity staff while they work with you to create the program is an easy way to accomplish this.

Linking your name with a recognizable charity is an important aspect of your charitable event promotion. The goal is to enhance recognition for both yourself and the charity that you partner with; benefiting both organizations from the resulting positive exposure. In order to maximize exposure make sure to publicize your donation by sending press releases and photos to the local media. Include your charitable involvement in any ads, pizza box toppers, in store pamphlets, mail/email/ social media blasts etc. For example, Anna’s Pizza & Pasta in Illinois partnered with former running back Ahman Green’s charity foundation and donated $2 for every pie sold over a specified period of time. Customers who donated were also in put in for a drawing of a signed Ahmad Green helmet. The former running back’s name is highly recognizable in Illinois and his charity helps kids and families battle cancer.

Most charities have a strong network of their own which all make excellent prospects (given geographic restrictions) as potential customers. Double your marketing efforts by asking for the chosen charity to market for you in return. Invite your charity to pass along coupons to its staff, include a statement/ad/article in a newsletter that it sends out. See if you can be included on the charities social network pages, or website. Invite the charity to host events at your location and invite its contact network (special sale, celebrity appearance, grand opening, and fundraising event). The charity will benefit financially, while you will benefit from the increased traffic. To maximize the benefit of such events make sure to collect contact information from everyone that comes into the store, and make sure you include them your contact list.

Although charitable giving can be used to increase business, the primary motivation should be to help other people. Opportunities to help make a difference our available in droves, and hopefully some charitable participation will leave you feeling a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment that isn’t gained through any other career opportunity.

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